Falmouth BA and MA Illustration students attend the Bologna Book Fair 2017

Sue Clarke and several BA and MA illustration students attended the Bologna Children’s Book Fair last week. As the most important annual international platform for children’s publishing it was an amazing opportunity for the students to show their portfolios to a range of publishers from different countries, to meet lots of other illustrators, to gain enormous insight into current trends and thinking in this field through the many talks and workshops, and to be inspired by the various illustration exhibitions.

Two BA illustration alumni won Bologna Ragazzi Awards this year. Will Grill won the Ragazzi Non Fiction Award for his book ‘The Wolves of Currumpaw’, published by Flying Eye Books, and Emma Lewis won the Ragazzi Opera Prima Award for her book ‘The Museum of Me’, by Tate Publishing. It was very exciting to see their work so celebrated at such an important and prestigious event and so prominently displayed on huge screens, banners and cabinets around the fair and in book shops around Bologna. It was also great to be able to attend the presentations of these awards and hear why the judges selected them.

With Will Grill’s book, in terms of the illustrations, the judges were drawn to the contemporary visual but traditional honest technique, the beautiful balance of art and non-fiction, and the rhythm of the book which they described as a ‘visual symphony’. In terms of his writing they applauded its intensity and the rare way that it doesn’t hide difficult emotions for children. Sam Arthur, co-founder of Flying Eye Books, took part in the discussion and was able to describe the lengths that Will went to in researching the book, including living in the wild, literally with wolves!

With Emma’s book the panel discussed how intriguing, personal and imaginative her illustrations are. They felt that the message behind the book is a really important one, in helping children learn how to look at the world around them. They described the book as a door to discovery, not just to art and artefacts, but to themselves. Holly Tonks, commissioning editor from Tate Publishing, discussed how the book really embraces the Tate’s ethos in that it is a vehicle to help break down the boundaries of children going into galleries. She discussed the integrity behind the book and how great it is that Emma made the book she wanted to make and for it to be so recognised and applauded Internationally. It is now due to be published in 11 countries.

Emma Lewis’s work for ‘The Museum of Me’ was also selected for the main exhibition at the fair, showcasing contemporary innovative work in this field. She was able to attend the ceremony at which all selected illustrators were applauded in turn by the huge jury panel and the very lively audience!
The whole awe inspiring (and slightly overwhelming) event was a real eye opening experience for our current students (and for several other falmouth illustration alumni who we unexpectedly bumped into there!). They did fantastically well to get 11 appointments with publishers over the week, from which they got really useful and positive feedback on their work. Having started the week with slight trepidation it was great to see them leaving the fair full of confidence and inspiration for their work (and great to have chance to celebrate such a potentially pivotal time over a few beers in hot sunny Bologna!)

Falmouth Illustration: 1st Year Project X

Last month 1st year Falmouth Illustration students worked on ‘Project X’. This project has a long history and go back many years. Essentially it is a challenge to tackle an hypothetical editorial commission in a couple of days to test the ideas generation skills that they have been developing throughout the 1st semester. Here are some samples of the outcomes….

‘Clingfilm’: A new risograph zine project from Falmouth Illustration students

‘Clingfilm’ is the brainchild of new Falmouth Illustration lecturer, Francisco Sousa Lobo. Francisco has brought both his love of film and comics into the third year studio through art directing  this new innovative zine with a range of third year Falmouth Illustration students contributing interpretations of their favourite films to this first risograph project. The limitations of the risograph printing process has brought the best out of students as has the challenge of distilling the films into short narrative sequences. Samples of the spreads can be seen here. The book is currently in production with an edition of 50 planned. Many thanks to Dion in the Graphic Design department, the illustration students involved and of course Francisco.

Wunderkammer 2017 Book Launch

The book launch of ‘Wunderkammer 2017’ took place last week in the new Gallery area at the Falmouth Woodlane campus. This is the 2nd edition of ‘Wunderkammer’ otherwise known as The Cabinet of Curiosities and is the successor of our popular ‘Quotes & Sayings’ series. Wunderkammer was inspired by a project that a small number of Falmouth Illustration students developed about 4 years ago. This years edition has surpassed all expectations and provided a fantastic showcase for this years graduates and also given an insight into what our alumni have been up to since graduating.

The book launch was a big success and was the first opportunity for the contributors to get their hands on their own copy of the book. Pages from the book can be seen below. Many thanks to all staff that have contributed to this project, with a special mention for Keryn Bibby who did such an amazing job with the design and Sue Clarke who contributed much to the research and collation of the content.

If anyone is interested in purchasing a copy (£10/copy +pp) then contact Nigel Owen at: nowen@falmouth.ac.uk

 

 

 

Pool Games, Dodgy Music, Magic Tricks and Lessons in Levitation

No Falmouth Illustration London Study Visit would be the same without the traditional Thursday night drinks before everyone go their separate ways for the Christmas break. This year things tended to centre on the bar at the Generator as the Marquis of Cornwallis was too full (and too expensive now).

The evening kicked off with a few games of pool before a rather dodgy suited hustler turned up thinking he was the bees knees. Rachel Tom and Nigel really appreciated a bit of down time to relax and chat to students less formally, but of course it was only a matter of time before Nigel started his peculiar brand of magic. Well I wouldn’t call it ‘magic’, in fact I’m not quite sure what I’d call it. Anyway it seemed to fool some people and indeed inspire others to bring out their own tricks. Tom’s rolling cigarette trick was a highlight.

Anyway it was a great way to end the week and we can all now collapse after a really full on semester. Well done to all of the first years for working so hard this year. Hopefully it will all pay off next semester when all the knowledge that you have gathered starts to fall into place with the ‘Applied Illustration’ projects.

Many thanks go out to Tom Barwick and Rachel Dunn for organising such a successful and enjoyable trip. Thanks again to all staff back at Falmouth who stepped in at the last minute to help organise the venue for the Forum. Thanks to Goldsmith’s for the use of the Lecture theatre, also to all the companies that we visited during the week and to the speakers at the Forum Event on Tuesday. Thanks also go out to The Art Admin team Jane, Rachel and Anna for helping with the logistics. Until next year…….

Macmillan, Harper Collins and Walker Books

The final day saw visits to Macmillan Children’s Books, Harper Collins and Walker Books.

Nigel and Rachel took students to see Macmillan art director Chris Inns and his design team in the morning. Chris was extremely generous with his time, giving us all a great insight into how children’s books are commissioned, designed and illustrated. Strong ideas and strong characters were the top of his wish list in an illustrator. Interestingly he was positive about the future of young audience illustration, saying that in his opinion “I think its a golden age for illustration” . Of course we live in a period of intense competition but it was reassuring for someone in Chris’s position to say this. He also was very complimentary about Falmouth Illustration. We will make sure that we get a good number of Macmillan prize entries in this year…

Tom took a group to see Julian Humphries at Harper Collins. Of course Harper Collins are one of the big publishers and so it was a very interesting visit for students. The parent company has many imprints, including 4th Estate, William Collins, Borough Press and more.

Today, HarperCollins UK publishes around 1,000 books a year. Their authors include worldwide bestsellers such as Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel, George RR Martin, and perennial fiction favourites Bernard Cornwell, Wilbur Smith, Patricia Cornwell and Cecelia Ahern. In non-fiction, they publish such luminaries as Max Hastings, Nigel Slater, Professor Brian Cox, Lorraine Pascale and Lena Dunham.

Their award-winning children’s division publishes the most talented authors around, including Michael Morpurgo, David Walliams, Judith Kerr, Derek Landy, Oliver Jeffers and Holly Smale, alongside all-time classics such as Paddington Bear and Dr Seuss.

In the afternoon Nigel and Tom took around 25 students to visit Louise Power at Walker Books. Louise, as ever, gave a fantastic presentation that is borne from years of experience in the industry. She reiterated that Walker look for strong emotional connections with the reader and also highly value strong drawing skills. Once she had run through Chris Haughton’s brilliant book, ‘A Bit Lost’, she used theatre as an analogy for the presentation of narrative within a book where the characters are ‘actors on a set’. She also said to students, ‘don’t get obsessed with backgrounds, your characters are far more important’. Once a gain a great visit to round the week off with.

1st Year London Illustration Forum 2016

This year’s 1st yr Illustration Forum was held for the 1st  time at Goldsmith’s University in East London. The three speakers this year were Neil McFarland (Ustwo), Pete Fowler and Alice Dunseath.

Neil McFarland framed his talk around the 11 careers that he has had since his early days being inspired by reading comics in the 1980’s. These phases include him working as a cartoonist, album artist, animator & promo director, painter, commercial artist, motion graphics, ‘granulator’,  App creator, digital game artist, creative team director, VR designer. His explanation of the origins and development of the hugely successful Award winning game ‘Monument Valley‘ was fascinating and inspiring.

Pete Fowler is best known for his work with the Welsh band ‘Super Furry Animals‘, having consistently produced artwork since the 2nd album in the mid 90’s. Having been an associate of both Neil McFarland and our very own Tom Barwick in the early days it was no surprise to hear that his early inspirations were comics such as the Beano and 2000 AD. Having begun his career in his home town of Cardiff Pete finally pitched up in London via a Fine Art degree in Falmouth. Influenced by popular culture he began to make all manner of visual statements often using whatever came to hand. His work ranges from large scale paintings and sculptures to delicately hand carved miniature wooden figures. Although he studied Fine Art his work is strongly rooted in an illustrative tradition through his desire to communicate to as wide an audience as possible.

Alice Dunseath was the last of our speakers for the evening. She started her talk with a truly profound animated Vimeo message from Ira Glass that really set the tone for what she was about to show (this is highly recommended). Alice is an animator who has evolved her early commercial into a wonderfully experimental and aesthetically stunning visual language that is both beguiling and hypnotic. Having cut her teeth on stop motion through working on the hugely successful animated version of ‘The Fantastic Mr Fox’, Alice went onto organise the Sierra Leone Film Festival in 2012, before going onto study at the RCA. It was here that she began to develop a fascinating approach to working with ‘growing’ crystals and ice, literally enabling her to animate the creation of amazingly fantastic worlds. Her work gave our students a glimpse of what is possible if you open your eyes and push ideas and materials much further than you might normally do.

The final 15-20 minutes was handed over to a really interesting Q&A session that took in themes such as Virtual Reality and how to break into the world of visual communication. Many thanks to the speakers and to Goldsmith’s University.

Egmont Books visit

Rachel took thirteen Falmouth Illustration students  to meet a number of art directors at Egmont Books. This important children’s book publisher has become a regular visit for Falmouth students in recent years. It is a really valuable connection for which we are very grateful.

Falmouth students were treated to an extended 2 hour + series of generous and insightful  talks by Tiffany Leeson, Laura and Sam (young audience) and Rebecca and Abby (Children’s picture books) that opened up the whole process of creating a book from sourcing an illustrator to the delivery of artwork.

Also good work from the students who asked great questions.

Visit to Pete Fowler’s Studio in east London

Eleven Falmouth Illustration students visited Pete Fowler‘s studio in east London this afternoon. Pete is an old friend of our 1st year course co-ordinator Tom Barwick, both having worked on comics back in the 90’s.

Pete gave up more than an hour and a half of his times providing students with his insightful view of the world of visual communication. His talk took us through his development from a fine art background through his time working for the Welsh band ‘Super Furry Animals’, his large scale advertising commissions through to his ‘bread and butter’ editorial output. A highlight was him talking about his interest in the craft of ‘making’ and seeing his vinyl toys, lino blocks, and fantastic wood carvings.

Thanks Pete, it was a great visit and we look forward to your lecture at Goldsmiths on Tuesday.

Falmouth Illustration 1st Year London Study Trip: 2016

After something of a hiatus the Falmouth Illustration blogging season kicks off once again with the 1st year trip to London. This year there are some personnel changes to the first year with Tom Barwick taking over the reigns as head of 1st year from Sue Clarke who did such a great job developing the 1st year experience during her time as 1st year head.

Tom has put great programme of visits together with sterling support coming from Rachel Dunn. Visits this year include; The Artworks Illustration Agency, Us Two Games Ltd, Pete Fowler, Egmont Press, Human After All, The Folio Society, Arena Illustration Agency, Dorling Kindersley, Macmillan Childrens Books, Harper Collins, and Walker Books.

Also on Tuesday we are holding our 9th first year London Illustration Forum, this time at Goldsmiths University in East London. The speakers will be Alice Dunseath, Neil McFarland and Pete Fowler. Thanks to all staff back in Falmouth who helped make the last minute change of venue possible.

The day started off with a visit to Artworks Illustration. As ever Lucy And Alex were very welcoming and gave a great presentation, talking about the role that agents play in the life of illustrators. It was a really pleasant surprise to see our recent Falmouth Graduate Katie Ponder, who is currently working on a part-time basis at the agency.

I will keep you updated with photos from the study visit as it happens throughout the week.